Goldstone Commission investigate the Bisho Massacre

Wednesday, 23 September 1992

At the request of President F. W. de Klerk, the commission of inquiry, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, started the investigation into the Bisho massacre. In its report the commission condemned Oupa Gqozo, military ruler of Ciskei, for refusing to give permission to mass demonstrations, which promised to be peaceful. It also condemned the actions of the Ciskei Defence Force for trying its best to cause as many deaths and injuries as possible. The commission dismissed Gqozo's claim that his troops were shot at by the demonstrators. It was later established that the Ciskei soldier, who died during the shooting was shot by his colleague. The Commission recommended that the strongest possible action be taken against Gqozo and those involved in the Bisho Massacre. However, the actions of Ronnie Kasrils and other senior African National Congress members were criticized for acting irresponsibly by breaking through razor wire into Bisho. This provoked the Ciskei Defence Force to start shooting without warning, whereas Cyril Ramaphosa, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General was busy negotiating with the National Peace Secretariat, who had offered to act as intermediaries in talks with the Ciskei authorities.

Click here to read about ANC's response on Bisho massacre

• Fraser, R. (1990). Keesing's Records of World Events, Longman: London, p. 39078
• South African History Online, Bisho Massacre 1992, [online], Available at [Accessed: 20 September 2013]